Build Apps in Isomorphic Ecosystem of MeteorJS

MeteorJS is a free and open source, full-stack JavaScript platform for developing real-time web and mobile applications. It is written using Node.js and is bundled with MongoDB. It allows for rapid prototyping and produces cross-platform code.

On the server side MeteorJS integrates with MongoDB. It uses the Distributed Data Protocol with a publish-subscribe pattern which automatically propagates data changes to clients. The developer doesn’t need to write any extra synchronization code. Meteor depends on jQuery on the client side. Meteor can use any JavaScript UI widget library here.

It is one of the best frameworks for start-ups. Let’s know it better.

#Meteor is real time

Meteor has real time built into its core so it handles all the components in such a way that if you update something in your database, the resultant change will be visible to all the connected users. It has integrated live browser reloading. It has a reactive front-end. With the change in front-end, all elements on the client application are automatically updated across the application surface, across all simultaneous users. In simple words, it incorporates push technologies that enable real-time updates from server to client.

#Reactive Rendering

It has full stack reactivity. From data base to template all the layers update automatically with new inputs. Meteor was designed to support transparent reactive programming. It has several types of reactive data sources such as:

  • Minimongo
  • user(),Meteor.status()
  • Session object
  • Reactive variables

These sources create Tracker dependency objects internally. Any JavaScript code you write that interacts with these sources will get you transparent reactivity. Reactive programming of frameworks updates variables on both client and server side without requiring extra inputs from the programmer.

#Meteor is full stack

It is a full stack JavaScript platform. It comes bundled with a lot of built-in features like automatic CSS, reactive templates, hot code reload, JS minification on the production server. All static files are automatically combined and minified for you in production. There is no need to specify CSS, JS or even HTML files manually-to be included on any page. Its client side technology is also very useful which has different templates, helpers and events. It has its cloud platform Galaxy, which is very powerful and useful tool. It helps in deploying, scaling and monitoring client applications.

#Isomorphic Ecosystem

MeteorJS is an Isomorphic Development Ecosystem — IDevE. As an Isomorphic Ecosystem, Meteor uses the same language — isomorphic JavaScript on both the client (web browser) and server. There is no need for duplicate application logic between the two. Meteor has all the essential front-end and back-end components that aid developers right from arrangement, development to deployment — all the stages of an app development lifecycle. Developers can leverage the power of JavaScript to reduce code complexity. It saves a lot of production time as there is no need to switch from server language to JavaScript and vice-versa.

#Meteor is easy

Anyone with a basic knowledge of programming and JavaScript can go through MeteorJS tutorials, learn about back-end and front end development on the same platform and begin coding — in a couple of hours. The code-flow is easy to understand and the tech stack is intuitive, therefore the framework is very exciting for the ones looking to do new things with the language they know, which is JavaScript. It is easy to hire talented people who can work with MeteorJS. No need to hire full stack programmers. All you need are pure-play JavaScript developers, and you can get them without spending your top dollar.

#Meteor is Flexible

Even though Meteor comes with its recommended stack, it is flexible enough to accept other technologies. Meteor does a big chunk of homework for the developers. They don’t need to have understanding of other solutions. It enables communication between the database and the app — the client side and the server side. No need to configure it all. Meteor ensures all the dependencies work together smoothly. It has built in packages to handle frameworks like Backbone.js, Bootstrap and jQuery.

#To Client Or To Server ?

Meteor blurs the line between client and server. Client and server share the same language and can share the same code. Templates, template related code, browser-related code, user-specific code, style sheets run on the client. Collections code and collection-related code e.g. helpers, validation code run on both client and server sides. Publication or any operation that involves handling sensitive data like email addresses or API keys will be best handled by the server. Server also handles time-sensitive operations. If confused always check this document.

#Hot Code Push

Meteor has the capability to enable you to go for Hot Code pushes. This feature is available to only iOS and Android apps. After your meteor app has been installed by users and you want to update the app, you can do so by using the hot code push feature from your server and each installed app will download the new pushed code and store it internally on the device. The next time the app is run, it runs on new code. Meteor thus can update the apps very discreetly without interfering with the experience of the users.

#Technologies used by Meteor

Major technologies used by Meteor include JavaScript, Node.js, MongoDB, and Web Sockets. JavaScript is used on the client that uses Spacebars as default template language. Other default languages that can be used are Jade or Blade. You can also write your own. Mini-Mongo is used on the client end for real time updates and periodic synchronization with server. Node.js is for delivering the content to the client. It is used on the server. MongoDB is also used on the server. It helps in maintaining data. Web Sockets and Meteor’s DDP protocol are used for real time communication between the server and the client. Whereever Web Socket is not supported, Meteor uses XHR with Socks.js.

#Meteor Package Management

Meteor uses different types of packages. Meteor core has meteor packages. These packages are included into every app. They are known as isopacks — the isomorphic packages that work both on client and server. There are first-party packages like accounts-ui which are maintained by core team of Meteor, and they come bundled with Meteor. There are third-party isopacks developed by other users which they upload to Meteor’s package server. They are available on Atmosphere with the Meteor search command. You can develop custom packages and keep them in packages directory. And then there are NPM (Node.js Packaged Modules) –these can be used with other packages.

Meteor’s isobuild brings it all together. It combines right bits of code for each target, using right build pipeline which involves transpiling, minifying, determining load order, resolving imports and exports and more. Meteor has built-in packages to handle pre-processing and custom user authentication for Google, Facebook, Twitter, Email etc.

#Meteor — The Rock Star

Meteor has 33K+ stars on GitHub. It is supported by lots of custom packages, neatly written tutorials and documents. It is well funded by VCs and there is a huge community supporting it. It helps you make apps by using pure JavaScript and therefore has a lot of love from developers who hate handling different languages for the front end and back end. They all love JavaScript, and therefore Meteor. It has a great number of libraries and plug-ins. AtmosphereJS is a huge collection of ready-made solutions that can be added to the apps for free. Installing and configuring elements is easy.

#Meteor Community

Meteor has a thriving community. You can show your support to Meteor on GithHub. Meteor has a presence on twitter, Facebook, reddit and Google+ . You can also visit the meteor forum to discuss issues. You can hobnob with others from Meteor Community at Stack Overflow. Whenever you need help or are stuck with an issue, the friendly Meteor community is there, on different channels with solutions to see you through.

Want to know more about MeteorJS? List of resources here would be very helpful to you. All the best. Happy Meteoring!


Originally published at www.openxcell.com on April 19, 2016.

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